Yesterday was a close one, as the Chiefs pulled off a 33-29 win against the Cleveland Browns at Arrowhead. There is plenty to be excited about as the Chiefs were able to defeat a team vying for the playoffs. Many things occurred throughout each quarter, so with that said, let’s look at five takeaways from the Chiefs’ season-opening win:
Chris Jones Is Set For A Monster Year
The best defensive player to come out of this game for the Chiefs was none other than Chris Jones. While his tackle numbers were at an average of three, he did have the Chiefs’ only two sacks and a chase-down tackle on Kareem Hunt. On his first sack with halftime nearing, Jones bullied over Jedrick Wills Jr, utilizing a swim move on him, showing him aside for an easy 11-yard sack. And on his second sack, he shows great speed off the snap, beating RT Jack Conklin with ease; he then gets to Mayfield quickly and wraps him up for the easy sack.
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Conklin isn’t your average tackle as he is a two-time first-team All-Pro; he made it 2016 and 2020. Wills isn’t a nobody either, making the 2020 Pro Football Writers of America NFL All-Rookie Team. If Jones is dominating All-Pro and rising talent like that on a fair share of reps, then he could be set for a season reminiscent of one 2018 season where he had 15.5 sacks. It will be exciting to watch as the season goes along.
The Defense Has Some Work To Do
Let’s start with the run defense, an area that has been a weakness for the Chiefs over the past few years. Well, it hasn’t gotten any better. The Browns totaled 153 rushing yards on the ground, with Nick Chubb being the lead man with 83 yards. He also had two touchdowns, including an 18-yard one in the second quarter which had one of the biggest holes for a running back that I’ve seen in a while. Heck, all of the Browns’ touchdowns came from the ground game, with Kareem Hunt and Jarvis Landry having one each. It was an embarrassment that the Chiefs’ have to learn from.
The pass defense wasn’t much better. While they didn’t allow any touchdowns from the air, Mayfield still threw for a staggering 321 yards with a 75% completion percentage. Man or Zone coverage didn’t matter; the Browns were killing the Chiefs’ pass defense. Some plays were made (mainly Mike Hughes’ game-ending interception), but there were a lot of falters as well.
Yes, I understand Mathieu, Clark, and Gay were out. However, there were still a lot of starters out there and were just beaten to a pulp on most plays. Would the Chiefs’ defense be better with all of them out there? Of course. Does this change the fact that the defensive game plan needs to be slightly adjusted, and the players have to reevaluate the mistakes they made on the field? No.
Mahomes And The Offense Are Set
To say the offense had a good game would be a complete understatement; they had a spectacular one! Mahomes was a beast, throwing for 337 yards and had four total touchdowns; he also had a QB rating of 131.4. The running game was okay; nothing too flashy happened besides an eight-yard run for Helaire and a rushing touchdown from Mahomes. Aside from that, Tyreek Hill had an explosive game, catching 11 passes on 15 targets for 197 yards and a touchdown. This includes his amazing 75-yard TD reception where he had elite adjustment towards the ball.
Kelce looked amazing two, hauling in six passes for 76 yards with two touchdowns. The offensive line shined, but rookie center Creed Humphrey shined the most out of everyone. In 41 pass-blocking snaps, he allowed zero QB pressures and zero sacks in his first career start!
Rookie right guard Trey Smith had a good game too, and his highlight play was him leveling a linebacker to clear a path for Mahomes’ rushing touchdown. Honestly, the whole offensive line came to play. While there were some hiccups (one primary example would be Brown allowing a sack), it was still a good day overall for them. This line looks special, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them all.
Sorensen Proves He Has The Clutch Gene
The interception that sealed the game wouldn’t have happened without Daniel Sorensen. Fans were skeptical about his return, but this play proved to all fans that he is an important key to that Chiefs’ defense.
On the Browns’ last offensive play, Sorensen can get by guard Joel Bitonio to hit Mayfield from behind. This causes Mayfield to, naturally, fall and lose control of his throw. This leads the ball to go in an awkward direction and height, which allows CB Mike Hughes to make the game-sealing INT. Sorensen proved to be a key contributor as he also had four tackles too.
Chiefs’ Special Teams Looks Good In Their First Game
The Chiefs’ special teams unit looked near perfect this week. Harrison Butker was three for three on extra-point attempts and was two for two on field goal attempts, hitting one from 43 yards out. Tommy Townsend showed his monster of a leg on two punt attempts for a total of 91 yards; additionally, both punts landed inside the 20-yard line.
The returning side had a solid game. Byron Pringle had 44 kick return yards on two attempts, which were solid; however, Mecole Hardman only had seven punt return yards. It isn’t much to fault on, but the special teams did good overall.
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